Coffee klatch blends Fairfield police, Solano residents
By Glen Faison, Daily Republic
Original article HERE
A Starbucks on Central Way was likely one of the safest places in the city for a couple of hours Thursday morning as police gathered there to meet members of the community for the latest Coffee with a Cop event.
The coffee shop was abuzz from 8 to 10 a.m. as officers and members of the Fairfield Police Department’s Community Services Bureau met with people from across the county – some of whom simply arrived for a quick coffee and a snack while others who came specifically to meet with police.
Bridget Stephens of Suisun City brought her three children, Samuel, 3, Darren, 11, and Hanna, 13, to the event so they could meet with the officers. The family visited with Officer Tustin Kimball and Maryann Dawkins, the department’s social services coordinator with the city’s Homeless Intervention Team.
Stephens said each of her children came prepared with questions for the officers.
Brandon Hill of Fairfield, meanwhile, visited in a corner section of the Starbucks with Sgt. Matt Bloesch.
Darlene Jones of Fairfield was there with a group of friends – Jodi Kautz of Rio Vista and her son Jason Kautz of Fairfield, and Karen Maggard of Fairfield – and discussed the new Social Opportunities for Disabled Adults initiative with Officer Joe Uchishiba, who is assigned to the Homeless Intervention Team.
Social Opportunities for Disabled Adults is described as a collaboration of people who work to promote friendships and social skills for adults with autism spectrum disorder or other neurological conditions.
Program with a purpose
The majority of contacts police officers have with the public happen during emergencies or as a result of emotional situations, police said in announcing the gathering.
“Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street,” according to a press release about Thursday’s gathering. “Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.”
That interaction was evident Thursday as area residents mingled and met with police officers and community services staff members.
“It’s nice to get out and do these,” Bloesch said of Thursday’s event.
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events take place across the county as local police departments work to connect with the communities they serve.
The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time, according to the press release.